Mercenary Points



Sometimes we just do things we’re not proud of.

We hold ourselves up to certain standards.

Tell ourselves that tomorrow, we want to be proud of who we were today.

But there are times when circumstances and situations simply get the better of us and choices that we would not make for ourselves or our families, all things being equal, just have to be made.

I find that in these situations that it’s better to simply come clean and be honest with the limitations that our lives impose on us, and to accept the circumstances we find ourselves in as gracefully as possible. We need to make peace with our decisions, and give ourselves permission to be disappointed without passing judgement on ourselves.

I say these things, but sometimes I don’t listen to myself very well.

Today…*deep breath*…I’m finding this hard to say.

I know you all love me, and I’m confident that you will find ways to forgive me, but these sorts of confessions simply aren’t easy no matter how strong our support networks.

Ok, let me try again…


I chose the fast, rip-the-bandaid-off-quickly approach.

What? You didn’t catch that?

*heavy heavy sigh*


Today, I have a housecleaner coming.

I’m holding my breath now.

Are you all still there?

Please! Say something! Anything!

I know you’re all shocked, and possibly you feel…cheated…dirty.

I promise she means nothing to me!

And it wasn’t even my idea! It was Himself’s! Blame him!

Although… I agreed.

Reluctantly, yes, but I agreed.

And I’ve never done this before, I swear! There were those few experiments with having a service clean the rental after I moved out, but that’s all!

I mean, I’m a working mom in the suburbs! All my friends are doing it! I just wanted to fit in!

Oh, let’s face it. Those are excuses, just ways to make it seem not so bad.

But the thing I’m most afraid of is…what if…what if…what if I enjoy it?

What if I want to do it again?

These things are insidious. You think it’s just once, to get yourself through a rough patch. It’s no big deal, it’s not like you’re dependent or anything. Everyone needs a little help now and then. But then you think about how good it felt and how it’s not like a thousand other people aren’t doing it too. So you do it a second time, just because it’s a special occasion. You know you can walk away. But then, it’s stops being a way to get through a rough week, or just something you do when there’s a party, and starts being something that you need to have regularly. Monthly. Then…then…weekly.

I think, maybe, that you all should have an intervention prepared.

You know.

Just in case.


    1. I’m so relieved to know that I’m not alone.

      That there are other people with this problem.

      Because now that they’ve come and gone, I may never go back.

  1. You sound like you know more about this than you let on.
    Really, it’s OK. I dream of having a cleaning lady come once in a while. Or a few times in a while.

    1. I promise I was totally virginal before today, except for using the apartment service to clean the rentals when I moved out, cause, damnit, I was exhausted from the moving part!

      And I may have dreams about this from now on. Damn, my house looks GREAT.

  2. well, in the spirit of confessional, I have a regular person.

    I love her, and she’s almost more important to me than the Husband.

    And you’re right….all the cool kids are doing it. You’re going to love it. (Until the children come in and throw their s&*^ everywhere and ruin the clean house).

    (Then you get the added adrenalin rush of freaking out about the clean house not being clean….assuming you had the first rush earlier in the day about cleaning up for the cleaning lady…Always a classic experience.)

    1. Hmmm…that’s a good point about the kids.

      Maybe I can send them all off to college early?

      We’d miss them though…*sigh*….I hate these tough choices.

    1. It was…oh my….I can’t even describe.

      I’m home now in a dust-free, grime-free house that smells like lemon Pledge and…and…oh my god I just can’t stand it….they did the windows!

      That’s it.

      I’m hooked.

  3. I have someond come once a month for a full clean and once a month for a 2/3rds clean. It’s what motivates me to pick up around here.

    Ps. I don’t mind people in my house when I’m not there. It’s when I’m THERE that I get stressed out

    Pps. It feels the same as ordering pasta at a restaurant. Icanactuallycookthatmyself

    1. Yes, in retrospect, I think it’s probably better that i wasn’t here.

      I mean, I probably would have wanted to help.

      I have a hard enough time letting people clean the kitchen without me, after I COOKED.

      I should just be smacked.

  4. Oh, this is so awesome! I love it and I love that you are worried what we’ll think.

    I do, however, wonder if any house cleaner can live up to your standards?!?

    1. No, I’m sure she has a staff.

      But then, her house is five times the size of mine and her annual income is 1000 times the size of mine.

      I feel a little goofy asking for help to clean my 1900 square foot house when I’m not even working full time at the moment.

      But…oh my…it is SOOOOOO lovely!

    1. Yes. Now that I have had the experience, I think it’s safe to say that it’s better for me that…ummm…lots of things that we won’t discuss on my PG rated blog.

  5. Imjealoustoo:)

    We thought about having a cleaning lady but it will take me a month just to clean up enough for her to come over. Yeah I know that makes no sense.

    And if it helps, I’m positive Martha doesn’t clean her own houses.

    1. No, after today I totally get the cleaning before the cleaning people.

      We were able to get the house de-cluttered pretty quickly though.

      Cause you know, you want them to have easy access to the dirt.

  6. Sigh. I’m sick with jealousy.

    Absolutely sick.

    Remember that post I did about little luxuries? Yeah, I miss having a regular house cleaner too. Maybe I should take this department store makeup back and hire one.


    1. Oh my stars,I did! I did!

      I’m walking around my house looking at it shining and trying to figure out what the hell i can give up so I can have this with some regularity.

      I don’t need….umm…food. Right?

    1. That might make it even worse. Cause…if it’s all you LOOK at all the time, there’s probably no real joy in it being cleaner. You’re still looking at the same space ALL the time!

      I have a hard time with that, and I only work half-time.

      “I’ve been staring at that bookshelf ALL DAMNED DAY. I REFUSE to dust it! REFUSE!”

      I can see myself doing that.

  7. First you hire a house cleaner. Then there are 32 mini pumpkins on your roof. It’s a slippery slope.

    (We hired a house cleaner last December so that, when we hosted 18 people for Christmas, they would think that we’re not disgusting human beings.)

    1. Oh my gosh, you’re right….

      I think we should watch me very, very carefully.

      If I start talking about getting out the ladder, shoot me with the nearest tranquilizer gun.

  8. Tell the hubster to do it. And make it a condition of getting lucky.

    It’s a win-win for everyone. You both get a clean house. You both save money. You both get laid.

  9. You are forgiven….but only if you share her.

    Also, her name must be Alice.

    She can come to my place on Tuesdays. First you will have to tell me what to do while she is here. The stress! Do I stay and watch her every move? (that sounds uncomfortable) Do I then help her because I feel embarrassed that she is there cleaning my mess? (that seems to defeat the purpose) Do I leave her there alone? (and then worry the whole time what she is doing, what got broken, what she stole on the way out, and what the burglars stole when she left the door unlocked after leaving)

    Maybe I’m not cut out for this whole housekeeper thing!

    1. My only option was to not be here.

      And her name wasn’t Alice, it was Martha, and…





      I’m sorry, I’m going to faint now.

      That’s just too bizarre a coincidence.

      (It just didn’t click before because she pronounces it without the “h”, but she left me the slip to pay her, and…..HOLY SMOKES!!!)

      1. This is clearly some sort of alternate universe you have stepped into.

        I bet if you go look at your neighbor’s house the pumpkins will now be lined up underneath the house (which isn’t nearly as cute!)

  10. You are so funny! I’ve never even though about Martha having cleaners, but I bet she has multiple people for each house. So really, you need to have one just to keep up with Martha. Maybe you should have been deducting points all along because you DIDN’T have a house cleaner.

    Guilt banished in mere seconds! You’re welcome! ;)

    1. It’s entirely possible…although I’m still reeling here because I just realized that my housecleaners name is….MARTHA.

      I think I slipped into another dimension.

  11. Ahhhhhh,

    I had a house cleaner a long time ago. I had a house cleaner back when I had only 2 children. And then only 3 children. I had a housecleaner when I was in between jobs and had a nanny. It was the most beautiful 5 months of my life as a mother.

    I had a housecleaner that came 3 times a week. Ahhhhh thanks for the stroll down memory lane. Must talk the the King and see about getting a new housecleaner. :)

  12. Too funny! My DH suggested it too. I was a little offended. But liked the idea… Then I thought about all the things I could do with the money. For me. Buy things. For me. I became too selfish and started cleaning obsessively. For two weeks… Then I went back to normal.

    1. I think he suggested it because I was pretty stressed out, with a lot of projects going on.

      Not a criticism of my housekeeping.

      Cause basically, he doesn’t like to do it either.

  13. As you know, I’m so filled with jealousy I can barely speak. You know what would be even better than a housekeeper? I want someone to follow my kids around and just pick up after them. Like, that’s their JOB. But seriously, I’ve already talked to my husband about getting someone in here. Even twice a month would be a salve to my psyche.

  14. Hilarious! Welcome to the dark side! I have someone every two weeks and was fanatcizing about weekly (even twice per week with my kids) like it would be the most fabulous indulgence ever.

    If you need more perspective. Martha has a whole team I’m sure. She just manages it. So, you have been promoted to household manager.

    Finally, with the time you save cleaning you can focus on holiday deocrations and neighborhood attacks!

    Good for you for taking care of yourself! You’ll like it here on the slippery slope.

  15. It’s like crack. You’ll be addicted by Tuesday.
    PS: So jealous! I’m too poor for a housekeeper. I’d have to give up blogging to get a job to pay for said housekeeper.

  16. I’ve never had a house cleaner. I’d fear that I’d clean before she came to clean, and well, I suck at that anyway.
    I will tell you that I used to go with my mom when she cleaned houses. For extra money. It sucked.
    Happy I shared?

    1. All I can think about cleaning other people’s houses is…BLECH!

      I have huge respect for people who can do it.

      I can barely stand my own dirt. I don’t think I’d do very well with other people’s dirt.

  17. I can’t have a house cleaner. I’m too worried they’d judge me and I’d end up compulisively cleaning before they came and end up paying them to clean an already clean house. I have a weird thing about paying people to do things I can do-that’s money that can be used for shoes!

    1. I had the same issue.

      “But I’m perfectly capable of cleaning the house!”

      And Himself pointing out, rather reasonably I might add, that I was really swamped with work and projects and the fact that I couldn’t get to the housework was really stressing me out.

      Plus…he agreed to pay for it.

      Love that man, I do.

  18. Oh my gosh my friend (who’s visiting from out of town) and I were discussing this very topic today!! And how to rid the guilt and just enjoy it and how very much we do it enjoy it when someone else comes to clean our houses! I say enjoy, enjoy every second of it and of course enjoy the clean house knowing you made someone else happy by paying them in this economy to do a job they’re willing to do ;) oh and I’m jealous right now as I have no one coming to clean here!

    1. Oooohh…that must be a sign!

      A sign that you need a housecleaner too!

      At least once.

      You know…just cause it’s been so busy and all with the guests.

  19. It’s so easy to SAY it’s only a one-time thing. But the lure for the second and third, possibly weekly fix must be strong.

    But admitting that you may have a problem is the first step. And knowing you, you cleaned the entire house before she even came over.

    Roll with it, enjoy the high….and yes, you may become addicted.

    But we still adore you.

    1. I promise I only TIDIED before she came over.

      You know, so she could actually reach the dirt.

      And I’m glad my adorability is not compromised by the use of the housekeeper.

      And yes…only once and I’m totally hooked!

  20. Ha! I’ve played the yo-yo game with a housekeeper; getting one when I worked full time, stopping when I moved, caving later for someone who comes twice monthly. One consistency: my mom doesn’t know. She’d be horrified!

  21. I don’t judge you a bit! I have a house cleaner when I can afford one, which is never right now, but I digress. It’s wonderful to come home to a clean home, but honestly, I always spent so much time and effort cleaning FOR the cleaner, lest she think we’re messy slobs, I could have cleaned myself. But that’s just me and my dysfunction.

    1. There was that crazy organizing so that they could avoid dealing with clutter and instead deal with dirt.

      But oh my stars, was it worth it!

      I’m addicted now!

      If only my wallet could see it MY way.

  22. Oh how I wish I could have written this post! Of course, because it’s well done, but mostly because I feel exactly the same way and I feel guilty about wanting to hire a cleaning service (almost like it’s an affair), but desperate because I hate my house right now. I just posted about how it’s one of my big stressors today. (I also talked about how I was deducting myself Martha Points for each nasty thing I mentioned.) So, don’t feel guilty. And I promise I won’t tell.

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